Wednesday, April 28, 2010


As Jake pointed out in his blog the day after Pike's Peek, I felt like a zombie as well on Monday-also worked and felt the shakyness(sp?) of zero energy throughout my entire body. Did NOT run. Too tired, but strangely, not sore?? This is the first race in a while that I have not felt sore after. But damn, I sure have been walking around like a delusional zombie. Felt better Tuesday and ran with Nate at Lake Needwood for about 1 hour easy. Again, strangely, I did not feel sore, just tired. At the same time I feel like I am so much stronger now, and that my body is now absorbing all of the efforts from this Spring.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pike's Peek 10K Race Report/ and 1/3 of 2010 Year in Review

Despite feeling awful all last week, I had a great race this past Sunday at the Pike's Peek 10K. This race was my debut for the Potomac River Racing Team, and I saw my former GRC teamates Jake and Joe jokingly calling me the "enemy" nearly an hour before the race. I ended up warming up with them for a couple of miles. I felt pretty good on the warm-up and knew it was going to be a good day. Thankfully, the rain had started to let up as we warmed up. I was hoping for a drizzle at the most. I don't like racing in the rain(although one could easily argue the greatest marathon race I have ever run was in Frederick almost exactly 1 year ago to date in a drenching downpour and high winds-Dickson who I was 2nd to can tell you all about that one). Anyway, after seeing many familiar faces before the start, I lined up ready to go. I found my PR teamates Ray Pugsley and Aaron Church(whom I met for the first time-very nice fellow) grouped together at the line.

There were a few minutes of crowded people and then almost immediately everyone rushed to the line to get ready for the race. I was already waiting at the line ready to go. I knew I was ready for this. I felt it. I felt my body eager to get out there and pound the shit out of my legs. Twenty or so African-looking men lined up right next to me. Gulp. This race looked to be pretty damn deep, much deeper than in recent years...

On your mark...set, GO!!

I took off right next to Jake Klim and saw a SURGE of africans immediately go in front. Good lord. I was easily in 25-30th place. We made the turn onto 355 and I had to make sure to dodge the big puddles of water in the potholes. Straight ahead now. Very quickly Jake and Joe surged ahead to where they belonged. Where's Pugsley and Aaron? I wondered. About 1/2 mile into the race, I heard some breathing behind me and found Ray and Aaron pulling up next to me and we ran together for a while. As Aaron pulled right next to me he said, "come on, let's go." Easier said than done. This guy was easily a sub 31:00 10K guy who had plenty more racing experience as well as years on me. He and Ray chatted briefly as if they were just going for a run. Ray said back to me, "How you feeling Chris?" I muttered, (out and short of breath) "good!" Soon after mile 1(5:07) he and Aaron pulled ahead. I was not ready to match their pace. At least yet.

I concentrated on my own race and tried to keep Ray in sight. He had pulled ahead with Aaron who seemed to be pulling ahead from Ray. He wasn't that far ahead actually. Mile 2 was 10:20(a 5:13 split) and I knew I had to just focus on catching the next runner. Then one runner came up on me and we ended up running together for much of the race. We traded back and forth at times but seemed to work well with eachother-I had no clue who this guy was-he was tall and wearing a grey jersey. The hill came at mile 3 which I knew was coming. I nearly laughed when I looked at my watch crossing the 5K mark-16:12..a PR by 5 seconds. My 5K PR has got to be the softest of all my PRs. The second half of the race is kind of a blur to me. I could still see Puglsey. I know the grey jersey runner still hung on. My 4 mile split was 21:02 or something around there, and I went through Mile 5 in 26:30(ANOTHER PR). This was to be expected, so I wasn't at all surprised to see new PRs already during the race. The last mile the grey jersey runner and I were duking it out. At this point I could not see Pugsley anymore.

I began to really kick it in. Battling back and forth, the grey jersey runner and I fought hard but worked together to dip under 33. Gotta break 33. Gotta break 33. Dammit I am going to sprint the last mile if I have to!! I surged the last half mile. The grey jersey runner did not respond at first, but then he came back on me and we were once again neck and neck the last 1/2 mile! Then, out of nowhere(right around the 6Mile mark, the lead woman passed me and went right in front of me and SLOWED DOWN. I cursed, JESUS CHRIST!!!, and ran AROUND her and sprinted ahead. The grey jersey runner did not catch me, but the lead woman made a final pass right at the end, and some other guy out of NOWHERE sprinted by full speed. But as I crossed the line I was happy to see the clock read: 32:54.

SPLITS: 5:07 5:13 5:19 5:23 5:28 5:19 1:05

I stopped, groaned, put my hands on my legs and gagged as I finished. UHHHH. My heel was killing me from the downhill during the last 385 yards of the race. I greeted Puglsey and Aaron after the race as well as Jake and Joe(who both ran PRs as well!!).

I am now looking at the first 1/3 of 2010 year in review. I've really put the hammer down this spring. The year is not even half over and I have already PRed in 5K, 8K, 10K, 10Miles, and 13.1Miles. In comparison to last year, I am improving a lot this year:

2009/2010 best times:

My Spring racing season is officially done. I would say 4/5 races went very well, and 3 of them PRs. The Marathon of course didn't go as planned, and it does loom in the back of my mind. I still have the mindset of a marathoner and have worked my way through cracking down my PRs in shorter distances. I think I am coming to the point where I can really put it all together now. I mean, seriously, how can I expect to run 5:30's in a marathon if my 10K race pace is 5:30? Taking down my 10K pace to 5:17s is an improvement and I would like to run even faster(low 32s) at Lawyers Have Heart 10K on June 13.

Ultimately, everything leads to the ultimate performance in marathoning. But I have to make sure I really am ready to run Chicago and peak for it-make sure it isn't a false race...and not think about doing any other races around October, and make sure not to overrace in the summer-I will do the Rockville Twilighter 8K, and maybe a 5K in the beginning of July...but that's IT....I would love to do Philly Distance Run in Sept but I do not think it would be a good idea(for me)-if I really want to perform well. There is a 1/2 marathon in August that I MAY do...but again it's tentative...I would love to get some feedback by anyone as well(Dickson I do need to talk to you)... But I need to plan ahead and make sure I am not trying to do everything at the same time. I am eager to train with the GRC for the Chicago Marathon Plan and think it's going to be great for everyone. Looking foward to many more things in 2010!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon

Result: 1:13:54, 7th place

I went into this event knowing in the back of my mind that Cherry Blossom was just under 6 days ago. At the same time, I wanted this to be a hard effort as well as to test my recovery ability and how fast I was able to run on a half empty tank. The results showed well: a 1:13:54-good for 7th place and only about 1 minute off my personal best and no less than a very solid performance. Would I have liked and wanted to PR? Of course. But I had just run a terrific 10M race at Cherry Blossom-and it was my fastest 10M I have ever run(it even beat that psycho treadmill run I did a few months ago).

The course was beautiful. It was a bit humid(it didn't start until 8:00 AM), and in the middle of nowhere(seriously I was not far from the NC border). But it was a nice weekend. The course was run on (once a road-now closed off as part of the park) which ran parallel to a canal. It was an out and back flat course. I kept the pace pretty even with a semi-fast 1st mile(5:25), and then settling right into the mid-5:30s. This was a good range for me to work with. Pushing into the 5:20's for a PR would've left me destroyed for Pike's Peek. I was in 9th in the beginning but I ended up catching one guy who was 2nd at the Shamrock Marathon(he ended up dropping out) and another guy in the last 2 Miles. I felt pretty good aerobically, and tried to make sure I would run as even as possible. This was also supposed to be a hard effort, and I wanted to make sure I pushed hard despite running on tired legs. I was also pleased with how good I felt in the new racing flats I recently got. This was a perfect way to test them out in an event. I will definitely race in them for Pike's Peek next Sunday. The nice thing now is that I feel more recovered from Cherry Blossom and just got a great endurance workout under my belt. I will do a 10K workout this week(either Tues or Wed) to get my legs rolling for the 6.2 race. I only ran 38M last week so I'm feeling more energetic for this week. Took Sunday off.

Overall, the results are promising. Last year, a "slow" 13.1 for me was 1:17. This year, it seems to be a 1:13.

I really enjoyed this event. I probably won't do it again next year, but definitely worth the trip. I'm glad I got out there. Part of traveling to races is the experience. The smaller sized race was a nice contrast to the gigantic mob of runners at Cherry Blossom last sunday, that's for sure.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Flats!

On Wednesday I got a free pair of Mizuno flats called the Wave Musha 2 and they are AWESOME. I have been racing in the Asics DS Trainer but have been wanting to change to a flat sometime soon as my form is improving and even my footstrike I find is changing(interestingly, my last 3 miles or so of Cherry Blossom I began striking with my midfoot as opposed to my heel...I have always been a heel striker...and I have heard that striking on your midfoot is the most energy efficient way to race apparently-it's not like I have been trying to midfoot strike's just sort of happening naturally). So with that in mind, it makes sense to be moving in the "flat" direction. I took a test spin to break in the shoe and did a mile and a half warm up on the treadmill before running 11.2 mph(5:20 pace) for about 6 minutes. Amazingly I felt so light but strong and efficient. I am excited to start racing in this shoe and will debut in it this Saturday at the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon. There will be some fast guys in this race. Top 5 last year were ALL SUB 1:05:00. The course is a flat, fast out and back apparently. This is a terrific opportunity for me to get in one last longer distance race for the spring and to shoot for a sub 1:11:00 time. Under 5:25 pace would be the goal. Of course it's ambitious, yes, after the Cherry Blossom PR I just ran last Sunday. But I rested well this week( I took Monday off and ran easy distances all week other than the quick test run on the treadmill I did). So I'm eager to give it a go and tuck well into 5:20's for most of the race. This is #2 of the 3 races I have in April.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Next Level

This Spring is literally springing me to the next level in my running. Last year, my fastest 5K was 16:31. My 5K SPLIT in my 10M race Sunday was 16:25. My fastest 13.1 last year was 1:15. This year, I have run 1:12 and am aiming for a sub 1:11:00 qualifying time for the elite section of Chicago. Despite the rough marathon I had in March, I feel like the worst is behind me and things can only get better. The storm has passed. The snow is gone. Spring is here.


I have thought a lot more about preparing correctly for the Marathon..and that will include less racing. Although right now(April) is one race after another(3 races in April total), these are the conclusion races of my spring season...then I'll start over, get some rest, recover, etc. I think I am starting to look into a really good yearly plan for me: which is made up of 2 seasons: Spring and Fall...where Fall I would concentrate mainly on a big city marathon...and Spring I would concentrate on 10K-Half Marathon to work on medium-long distances. Summer's always a mix of a few 5ks or an 8k, but nothing over the top.

So in a nutshell, my key spring races this year and (probably) next year will be cherry blossom, 1 or 2 fast half marathons, a 10k...

I have immediately fallen in love with Cherry Blossom and I see what Jake is talking about on how great of a race it really is. I am already excited for next year!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The 2010 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I woke up at 3:00 AM on April 11 to realize I still had a little under 2 more hours to sleep. I tossed and turned. I was hyped up. But I remained calm and knew to relax and just lie in bed and concentrate on resting...I knew that sleeping no longer mattered at this point...I just needed to rest a little bit before preparing for the big day.

I have always wanted to run this race. I have heard so many great things about Cherry Blossom. I was excited about finally doing it this year and wanted to make it count. Me, Beth, and Beth's Mom took metro(the obvious way to get to the race). I immediately went to the portopotties to relieve myself since I had to go to the bathroom really bad. I then proceeded to do a solo warm-up since I was already running late on time(it was 7:10ish) and I was not able to find my GRC teamates. Go figure, this was a huge event with 15,000 runners. Trying to find Jake and the guys was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I did some drills, I had already stretched plenty before(while waiting in line at the portopotties mostly), and did 10 minutes of running. I then proceeded to the start line and found my GRC buddies.

The horn blasted and about 15-20 super elites surged to the front. I kept eye contact with my GRC teamates around and in front of me. I saw Klim and Reaves move up ahead as well as Murphy. I kind of drafted off of them and came through the first mile in 5:05?! Too fast, but the hell with it...I think to a certain point you can go out too fast in a race...but at the same time it trains you to get stronger and to dig furthur..dig into a faster realm..take a taste of running a Jake Klim pace. But I got more realistic and went through the 2nd mile in 5:25. After that, I started to not feel so good. I also got a side stitch that started to bug me and I was trying to shake it off. I saw Charlie Ban pass me who was moving pretty darn good. Mile 3 was 5:20 and my 5K split was: 16:25. Very soon after Billy Askey passed me. Besides Billy and Charlie, I was being passed by several runners. I also had lost site of Murphy, who I was at first keying off of. I really wasn't feeling great, I felt out of breath and almost like my body was going to give in...but somehow, it held on. Mile 4 was 21:20(5:30 split), and mile 5 was 26:54(5:34 split). So I was really struggling mile 4 and splits were slow. But after 5, something awakened me.

I started to feel a rush of energy to return to my body. An electric current jolted me to life. I got hungry. I felt like I had awoken from a coma.

I began to PUSH.

I started to focus on the guy ahead of me, and then the next guy. I latched onto a pack of 3 or 4 guys and worked with them. Mile 6 was a 5:25 split so I was back on pace. I saw Andy cheering for me on his bike. I pushed with the pack and I began to see Billy just ahead. The pack started to break up and it was me and one other guy who caught Billy around mile 7. Mile 7 was a 5:35 split but I was catching people. Billy hung on a few steps behind me as I kept catching runners. One guy I recognized the blue jersey who was Kyle Smits I caught around Mile 8 which was 43:15(5:20). I saw Dirk cheering somewhere around mile 8 as well. (Thanks Dirk and Andy for all the great support!) Mile 9 seemed really slow. I came through in just around 49:00(a 5:45)...which had to have been off-especially since I was really moving at this point. I was just a few steps behind Charlie and passed him in the last mile. He seemed to respond and passed me back moments after, and I drafted off him for a bit. I also saw Murphy about 10-15 seconds ahead. The last mile is all a blur, but I ran my ass off. I surged harder and harder, and passed Charlie and yelled "COME ON!!" to hopefully help him as well as give myself an extra adrenaline rush-not that it wasn't already pumping...I could hear the crowd moments away from finishing. Sometimes I like to yell outloud. It gets me going. I saw the uphill before the finish and it burned my legs. I yelled at the hill and sprinted up the damn thing. People cheered for me as they saw me push through the pain. I heard Beth and her Mom cheering for me. I also saw Nate cheering for me. As I got over the hill I kept charging, and charged right through the finish line in 47th place and in a new PR of 54:16.



My splits are all over the place. I feel like a lot of the mile splits were off..but honestly, who cares. I ended up running 54:16 and that's an average pace of 5:25. I got close to the 54 barrier. It would have been nice to have dipped into the 53's, but I feel like I did my best. I can only look ahead to the next one. I feel like this race toughened me up. I hung in there through the rough part and succeeded in the end. I know I am coming off stronger after having run this race, and am looking foward to the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon next Saturday-which will be my last long distance race(anything above 10K) for a while-at least until August.

The remaining Spring Racing Schedule:

4/17: Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon
4/25: Pikes Peak 10K

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Now It's Time to RACE

I got a great sleep last night, but now I feel REALLY nerved up. I probably won't sleep very well tonight but that's probably a good thing.

In February I ran a solid half, dipping into the 1:12:00's on a hilly 13.1. Almost exactly 2 months ago I PRed in a workout running 10 Miles in 54:40, hitting 5:28 pace. And, last Sunday I did a 6M tempo at 5:20 pace(and practically PRed in 10K).

The goal for Cherry Blossom is to click off low 5:20's the entire way. I'd like to run pretty even(I'm expecting the first mile will be at least 4-5 seconds fast), but ultimately keep the pace very even throughout miles 2-9, and have a good finishing kick the 10th mile.

I would like this to be a tad faster/or as fast as the goal 10M split I will want to go through at Dismal Swamp next weekend. So, the goal for Sunday is to quite simply get into the 53:00's. If I can do that I will definitely have a shot at running under the 1:11:00 mark for the half next weekend.

One would argue that I should not be racing 3 weeks after a disastrous Marathon-that I am not being smart-I am too ambitious-that I am overracing. But, as I look back on past performances, the reality is that sometimes you don't know what's going to happen. No matter how fit you think you are or what you see yourself doing. You have to take chances. You have to strike when the iron is hot. For me, I know the iron is hot right now. I know I am very fit. I didn't do all this training for nothing. I'm not going to just sit back and not race. I have more to give. I'm not injured, and I am 100% healthy, training very well. I have been healthy for 3+ years now. I believe things are going in the right direction. I am ready to compete.

This will be my last GRC race and then I will switch over to the PR squad. Although I will still train with the same people, I will miss racing in the GRC singlet.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Getting Ready

After last Sunday's 6mile tempo, I did a little extra fine tuning this week to prep myself up for Cherry Blossom. My week so far:

Mon: PM: 11 miles easy @ Lake Needwood
Tues: PM: 9.5 miles easy on Greenway Trail
Wed: AM: light prep on track: 5:18 mile, 2:30 800
PM: 4.5 miles easy
Thurs: AM: 3 miles @ Canal with 2 miles @ 5:10 per mile
PM: 4 miles easy

I will do easy distance runs on Friday and Saturday and I should be good to go.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday April 4: 6mile Tempo @ 5:20 pace/63mpw

I had a great workout today. I also ended up pretty much PRing(again!) during a workout. I decided to do a 6 mile tempo around LT pace. I ran this on the canal and ended up splitting pretty evenly after converting the mile marker times. I stretched and warmed up for 1/2 mile, and split: 5:25, 5:15, 5:20, 5:25, 5:20, 5:15. I averaged 5:20 per mile which ends up being a 33:10ish 10K-pretty much a 20 second PR in a workout. I felt pretty comfortable and made sure to stay controlled the whole way. This is a huge confidence lifter and especially since I think with some sharpening up I can really get down to low 32:00's for 10K at Pike's Peak. This was also a great workout for the upcoming 10 mile distance I get to tackle next Sunday.

Total Mileage for this week was 63. I felt much better this week than last week, that's for sure.